Welcome to Antequera, a town known as El Corazón de Andalucía (“The Heart of Andalusia”). The town owes this name to its central location among the four big cities: Malaga, Seville, Granada, and Cordoba. Despite this, Antequera still isn’t a popular destination, and it can most certainly be a hidden gem in the province of Malaga in Spain, with its crown jewel – Alcazaba at the top. Chances are quite high that you’ll have the town for yourself, especially in the low season. So, come and let’s discover all the things to do in Antequera, an undiscovered gem in Malaga, Spain.
Interesting facts about Antequera in the province of Malaga
Antequera sits at an altitude of 575m among the beautiful mountainous landscapes. Town got its name from the Romans, who called it Antikaria. What makes the town even more interesting is that the three UNESCO World Heritage sites are here: Antequera Dolmens Site, El Torcal de Antequera and La Peña de los Enamorados. Also, the town is home to 33 churches – more per inhabitant than anywhere else in Spain! No wonder why it gained its “City of the Churches” nickname.
Top 10 Things To Do In Antequera in Malaga, Spain
Alcazaba of Antequera
The one thing that you should absolutely have on your “things to do in Antequera” list is to visit Alcazaba, one of the most picturesque castles in the province of Malaga. The fortress that dominates the hilltop above the town is from the 14th century, from the Moorish times. Its purpose was to defend the town from Christians, during the constant battles. Thanks to the strategic position and sturdy defensive towers the Moors held off their attackers until 1410 when Prince Ferdinand of Aragon finally conquered the town. Inside, you can walk in the gardens, walk the ramparts and climb the bell tower from 1582 – all of that among the sounds of atmospheric music.
Entry cost: 4€ normal, 2€ children (May 2022). The ticket includes an online audio guide in different languages.
From a distance, Alcazaba is visible from many places in the Antequera, but we recommend heading to the Iglesia de Santa María de Jesús from where in our opinion, it looks the best (take look at the first photo in the post).
Royal Collegiate of Santa Maria
Tour of the Alcazaba of Antequera ends on Mirador Plaza De Santa María, where you’ll find Royal Collegiate of Santa Maria (es. Real Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor). The church is from the 16th century and is the first columned Renaissance church in Andalusia. The church overlooks the remains of Roman Baths.
Entry cost: 3€ normal, 1.5€ child (May 2022)
Important note. You can also purchase a combined ticket to visit both Alcazaba of Antequera and the Royal Collegiate of Santa Maria. Entry cost: 6€ normal, 3€ children (May 2022).
Remains of Roman Baths
Right next to the Royal Collegiate of Santa Maria you can spot remains of Roman Baths, Termas Romanas de Santa María. They were built in the 1st century, used until the 5th, and only discovered in 1988. Separate rooms, which maintained varying temperatures for the bathers, are still visible, as well as some richly detailed mosaics.
Mirador de las Almenillas
For the best views of Antequera, you’ll want to head to Mirador de las Almenillas, which is located just a few steps from the Alcazaba. From there you can enjoy stunning views of the town and its surroundings. You can also try to find all the Antequera churches from there.
Parroquia San Sebastián
One of the places you simply can’t miss in Antequera is Parroquia San Sebastián (eng. San Sebastián Church) – all thanks to its magnificent, 60m high, bell tower. The construction of this Renaissance church started in the 16th century, and the present appearance is the result of many additions and reforms during the years.
The church is located at the bottom of the hill where the Alcazaba of Antequera sits, on a pretty square, Plaza Espíritu Santo. This is the place where you can relax for a moment while eating tapas in one of a few restaurants and bars.
Plaza Coso Viejo
Few steps from Plaza Espíritu Santo you’ll find another nice plaza – Plaza Coso Viejo. Square is home to buildings like Palacio De Nájera with Museo de la Ciudad de Antequera inside, and Convento Santa Catalina de Siena. In the middle of the plaza, there’s also a statue representing Ferdinand I of Aragon riding on his horse, who conquered the city in 1410. The plaza was once called the Vegetable Square, and it was the place where the market took place.
Museo de la Ciudad de Antequera
If you love learning about history you can’t miss visiting Museo de la Ciudad de Antequera (eng. The Museum of Antequera). The museum is located in the Palacio de Nájera on Plaza Coso Viejo, and the 4 floors offer a fascinating insight into the local history starting from the Neolithic times and ending in the present day. The exhibitions include megalithic artifacts, roman relics, medieval silverware, and baroque paintings.
Entry cost: 3€ normal, 1€ children (May 2022)
Antequera Old Town
One of the best things to do in Antequera is to walk around the town streets and discover its charming hidden corners. In our eyes, Antequera isn’t a classic Andalusian city. There you won’t find many narrow cobbled streets and whitewashed houses decorated with flowers – it can be a nice change. Prepare yourself for steep hills, and wear appropriate footwear.
The Antequera Dolmens Site
Sitio de los Dólmenes de Antequera (eng. The Antequera Dolmens Site) is situated on the outskirts of Antequera. You can easily access it by car, or on foot (20min walk from the city center). Dolmens were built somewhere between 3,500-3,000 BC and were used for rituals and burials and are single-chamber megalithic tombs. There are three dolmens in Antequera to explore: Menga, Viera, and El Romeral. The Menga Dolmen is the largest in the whole of Europe. Menga and Viera Dolmen are close to each other, while El Romeral Dolmen is located 3km further. The Antequera Dolmens Site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016. Entry cost: free.
La Peña de los Enamorados
La Peña de los Enamorados (eng. Lovers Rock) is a 800m high limestone rock, visible from many places in Antequera. Rock resembles the profile of a giant man’s face. There are a few legends explaining the rock’s name: “The Lovers Rock”.
The most popular one says that the daughter of the Muslim ruler fell in love with a Christian soldier from Antequera. As the love between different religions wouldn’t be accepted the two lovers decided to run away together. They were captured at the top of the mountain, but instead of surrendering and giving up their love, they jumped from the rock, holding hands so they could be together for eternity.
La Peña de los Enamorados was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016.
El Torcal de Antequera
El Torcal de Antequera definitely should be on your list of things to do in Antequera. It’s located about 15km from the city center, only a 25min drive. El Torcal de Antequera is a unique place at the altitude of 1200m, with surrealistic rock formations, which may leave you speechless. Limestone formations were formed over millions of years by the sea (once it was a seabed that later got uplifted) and then eroded by the rain and wind, forming what we can explore today.
There are three routes that you can follow to explore the Torcal de Antequera. Don’t forget your hiking boots, as the terrain is very rocky and might be muddy after rain.
El Torcal de Antequera was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016.
How to get to Antequera, Spain?
In Antequera, we left our car in this parking lot for free. From it you can already enjoy stunning views over Alcazaba and La Peña de los Enamorados.
You can also get to Antequera by bus. For example, the journey from Malaga will take about 45 minutes, and will cost €6 – €9. From Mijas or from Ronda the journey will be much longer, about 2.5h, and will cost about €15.
Where to eat in Antequera?
Here are your best, high-rated options in Antequera:
Where to sleep in Antequera?
Antequera - Map of places
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